you cannot not communicate
Why do people at work often want to know what is happening in the company and what the big picture is?
We are naturally concerned with things that affect us and we want to know all the information we can. When we have knowledge and information, we feel as if we have more understanding of, and control over, a situation. When there is no information, we tend to start to speculate and fill the vacuum with ideas and guesses, and these are not normally happy, positive guesses because we are prone to worry.
At work it’s very important to us to know what is happening as this will affect us and our daily lives.
We want to know that we are part of something. We don’t want to be just sticking things together in a dark room; we want to know that our small cog in the overall machine makes a difference. We like to know we are part of a bigger team, that what we are doing is something that makes a difference to people’s lives out there in the world, and that what we spend the majority of our waking hours doing eventually has a positive impact on someone. It makes it all worthwhile.
Spending time updating your team on what is happening in the company shows that your team is important to you. It takes time and effort to collate information and prepare it for distribution, and spending time with your team to communicate what you think is important: your people, this shows you care.
Sharing information is critical because they can make better informed and more effective decisions. It also raises awareness of the consequences of those decisions. If you want your people to make more decisions themselves, allow them access to all the information.
Some handy tips:
- As leaders we are always communicating. If you walk through the office and don’t stop to say hello to anyone in the team, what does this communicate to the team?
- Just by being visible sends a message. Take the ‘long walk’, if you have a meeting don’t take the direct route, take a different route maybe through Finance or Reception and spend some time connecting with people
- If you find yourself griping, take the gripe back to the source. It takes courage, but in the long run builds trust and a true feedback culture
- When there is a delay for your train at the station, would you rather have no announcement at all, or an announcement telling you there is no further news but you will be updated as soon as there is any? It’s probably the latter. This is a principle you can apply at work.
- Seek feedback on your non-verbal communication, what are you leaking? What is your ‘rest face’? It’s the face that you have when you are not concentrating. Ask someone what you look like when you are not concentrating and what sort of impression you give off – what do people think?